Serena Williams made a triumphant return to Toronto by defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Canadian Open on Monday.
Williams played her first match since going down to Harmony Tan in the first round of Wimbledon, where she made her WTA tour singles comeback after a year's hiatus.
During an on-court interview after the match, the 40-year-old stated that she loved being back in Toronto, which is one of her favorite stops on the tour.
It's great to be back in Toronto. I didn't know if I will be able to play here again, this being one of my favorite stops on tour. I was really happy to be able to come out here again. So, it was fun and really cool," she stated.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion also spoke about the variable weather.
"It was cloudy, it was sunny, it was windy, but it was good," she said.
Williams played on hardcourt for the first time in over a year. She last played on the surface at the 2021 Australian Open. Cheered on by a vociferous crowd, the American prevailed in most of the long rallies which were forced upon her by the gritty Spaniard.
She now faces the prospect of running into Belinda Bencic in the second round if the Swiss gets through her match against Tereza Martincova.
After winning the National Bank Open for the first time in 2001, Williams had to endure a 10-year wait before clinching the title again in 2011. She won the event for the third time in 2013.
Serena Williams' history at the US Open
Serena Williams has a terrific record at the US Open, having won the title six times. She holds the joint record for the highest number of title wins at Flushing Meadows along with fellow American legend Chris Evert.
Williams won her first US Open title in 1999 by getting past Martina Hingis in the final, thus becoming the second African-American woman to win a Grand Slam since Athea Gibson in 1958.
A second US Open title awaited her in 2002 when she got past sister Venus, who was the defending champion, in the final. Jelena Jankovic failed to prevent Williams from bagging her third title in New York in 2008.
Williams' best streak at Flushing Meadows came when she won three successive titles from 2012 to 2014, accounting for Victoria Azarenka in a couple of finals before prevailing against Caroline Wozniacki.
The tennis legend had earlier begun her preparations for the final Grand Slam of the year by practicing on a court built by her husband Alexis Ohanian that mimics the US Open surface.